14 January 2008

Random obscure things I've learned recently

The American moose is the same animal as the Scandinavian elk. The American elk is not found in Scandinavia.

The name "John" translates to "Ivan" (EEE-van) in Croatian.

The word "Cherokee" is unpronounceable in their actual language. They call it "Tsalagi" - and their name for themselves is "Aniyunwiya."

The Incan writing system consisted of bundles of strings with knots in them, called "khipu."

Due to quirks of international trade agreements, the round blue tins of Danish butter cookies cost a lot more in Denmark than they do in the U.S.

Also, "shit" is not actually considered a profane word in English-speaking places outside of the U.S.


Anonymous said...

Gasoline costs more in Alaska, where some of our oil comes from, than it does in Washington many miles down the pipeline & over the sea. This is because there are limited refinery facilities in AK.

Random Michelle K said...

The longest a chicken has lived with it's head cut off is 18 months.


Was that not the kind of random you were looking for?

Shawn Powers said...

I'm sure Nathan would argue the chicken's liver kept it alive...


Random Michelle K said...

Well, that and an eye dropper.

Jim Wright said...

Jeri, oooh, urk, argh! Yes, damnit. And there are limited refinery facilities because that was part of Alyeskan pipeline agreement so that Alaskans wouldn't get some kind of 'unfair' advantage over everybody else. So instead we get to pay double what everybody else does because the oil goes first to California, then comes back to Alaska with California taxes on it. And we get to pay the freight both ways. Bastards. Bastards. Bastards. Everybody else has gotten rich on oil, except us. And it's likely to stay that way. Me, personally, I think we ought to shut the damned pipeline down until we get equal treatment with the rest of the world's oil producers.

Thanks, now I'll be pissed the rest of the day.

MWT said...

Jim: Boobs!!!

(if that doesn't look random, I don't know what would ;) )

Anne C. said...

Mental note: Don't get into a random info battle with Michelle. I will surely lose.

Nathan said...

Now cut that out Shawn. And excellent comeback, Michelle.

Random factoids:

Hooker became a synonym for prostitute because of "Hooker's Girls", camp followers encouraged by General Hooker in the Civil War.

Sideburns are named for General Burnsides.

If either of those are false, I swear I didn't make them up (but my father may have.) :-)

Random Michelle K said...

Anne C

But at least you'll be entertained!

Here's another interesting fact: Plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cacti are classified long night plants, because they need an extended period of darkness to bloom. It was originally thought they were short day plants, but it was discovered that flashing light during their period of darkness would keep the plants from blooming.

So if you want your holiday plant to rebloom, starting in October you have to make sure the plant has 12 hours of uninterrupted dark.

OK. So I think it's an interesting fact.

John the Scientist said...

"Due to quirks of international trade agreements, the round blue tins of Danish butter cookies cost a lot more in Denmark than they do in the U.S."

Is it international trade agreements, or just the fact that the North Euros tax the crap out of everything? Finns take the ferry to St. Petersburg to buy Finnish vodka for the same reason.

And Japanese-made electronics are about 1/3 cheaper in the US than in Japan because of taxes and the "Old Boy" distribution network (and the myriad small business that take their cut in the middle of the supply chain).

Because a lot of vegetables are flown into Japan fresh from SE Asia, grocery stores carry vegetables that bear the brand names "All Nippon Airways" and "Japan Air Lines". Can you imagine buying a bunch of scallions marked "Jet Blue"?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Megadeus said...

Check it out, MTW, a spambot!

I hope you don't get many more, I'd hate to have to go through a CAPTCHA to post comments...

MWT said...

John the Scientist: As long as the scallions themselves aren't blue...

I got that one from a Dane, and she didn't use the word "quirk" to describe her thoughts about international trade agreements, nor did she seem to think taxes were causing it.

Megadeus: Well, I'll just look on the bright side and decide it means I'm becoming popular. :)

I'm not planning to turn on the CAPTCHA feature if I can avoid it. So far there's been no reason to. Chances are it's not going to be a problem anyhow; this place isn't that popular. ;)

Anonymous said...

My Akismet has caught nearly 600 spambot comments in the last 18 months, and my site is not that highly visited or linked to. They're persistent, I'll give 'em that.